When The “Sharing” Economy Fails — My Terrible Experience Using Turo

Filed Under: Rental Cars

For those of you not familiar with Turo, it’s a peer-to-peer car marketplace. Think of it as the Airbnb of car rentals. Instead of renting a car from a big, faceless corporation, known for bad service, you rent a car from an individual, and it’s facilitated by Turo.

About two years ago I used Turo to rent a car for about a week. I had an overall positive experience — the pickup and drop off of the car went smoothly, the owner was communicative and easy to work with, and there were no issues with the vehicle.

Last week, I decided to give Turo another shot, as I’ve never been too fond of traditional car rental companies. I picked up the car from the owner in Manhattan and noticed immediately that the car had several problems — the check engine light was on and there were indicators flashing that the car had low coolant, a low right tire, and I later noticed that the rear parking sensor was broken.

I picked up the car in the middle of morning traffic and literally didn’t have time to check its state. I met the owner near Bryant Park, he jumped out, handed me the keys, and told me to hurry and drive away before I got a ticket. For those of you familiar with midtown Manhattan on a weekday morning, it’s not a place you can leave a car lingering for more than a few seconds without suffering the wrath of some angry drivers!

A warning bell went off in my mind right away. I had seen a review from another Turo user who had rented that car saying that he experienced a coolant issue and several other issues, calling it an “extremely unsafe vehicle.”  That said, most reviewers wrote the car worked well, so I thought it was a one-off and safe to rent.

Two days after I picked up the car I became worried because the car started saying the engine was overheating when I drove it. Around that time, the air conditioning stopped working, and when I parked the car I noticed the engine making very loud and concerning sounds. I texted the owner and he admitted that he knew these issues were present when he rented me the car, but he “didn’t have a chance to rectify” them. He did say that I could take the car to a mechanic and he would cover the mechanic adding coolant to the car, up to $100.

I planned to take the car to a mechanic the following day. Early that morning I was driving to get coffee when the car literally broke down in an intersection. As I was driving in the intersection, the car wouldn’t accelerate and then stalled. The engine was making loud, worrisome noises again, so I turned it off. I tried to turn the vehicle on again several minutes later but was unable. After several more minutes the car turned on, and I drove it immediately to a Meineke car service center.

At Meineke they told me that they believed coolant was leaking from the car. I contacted Turo, and they told me that I could end the rental and would be refunded 70%, as I had used the vehicle for three full days and had rented it for ten. I explained that at this point I didn’t want to continue the rental under any circumstances, as I felt the car was unsafe, given it had just stalled and broken down in an intersection. A few days later they reconfirmed in writing what they had already told me on the phone — that I would be issued a 70% refund.

Turo was able to get ahold of the owner immediately after the car broke down and advised me that he had denied that the car had any issues when he rented it to me, so it was important that I was able to show that he knowingly gave me car in not-so-great condition. At Turo’s request, I sent them a screenshot of our conversation in which he acknowledged that the check engine/check coolant indicator light was on. In follow up calls I also mentioned that I had seen other reviewers experienced the same issues with the car, but I was never able to get someone on the phone with the authority to make any decisions or issue a refund, so it was mostly a one-sided conversation.

This all took place seven days ago, and I have yet to receive a refund. Turo told me in writing in an email (as well as on the phone) that I would receive a 70% refund without any stipulations, but they have subsequently refused to honor the refund because the owner was able to provide a mechanics report stating the car does not have any problems. The customer service experience has been pretty horrific, and Turo seems to be much more concerned with protecting the owner of the vehicle rather than protecting the renter from an unsafe vehicle.

I guess the next step is to just dispute the charge on my credit card, given that they’ve charged me but aren’t holding up their end of the bargain.

There are lots of things to love about the “sharing” economy, including the overall better value that can be had, and that the typically horrific service from car rental companies can be avoided… or so I thought. This highlights one of the challenges with the sharing economy, though. When things go right, it’s great. When things go wrong, no one takes responsibility.

Has anyone experienced a similar issue with Turo? What would you do in this situation?

  1. Damn. It’s too bad that, not only was the car owner a d-bag, but Turo is enabling his d-baggery. I hope the credit card dispute resolves in your favor.

  2. Thanks Ford for sharing. Car breaking down in mid-intersection is indeed scary! glad you were okay.

    Had been considering to give Turo a try as an alternative in NYC given how expensive car rental in the city is…I think I will need to consider some more…

  3. Timely as i was considering a Turo rental soon and will think twice. I’ve been using Autoslash lately (HT to MommyPoints) and getting some great rates in NYC, particularly for Brooklyn pick ups. Cheaper than Turo too…

  4. In Manhattan, is is highly unlikely that the “owner” of the car is actually an owner – probably someone who is leasing a car he uses for Uber. Just pay for Zipcar or whatever.

  5. Definitely dispute the charge…and of course write one Hell of a bad review for this loser.

  6. That other review made me guffaw. I live in Canada and get by with all-season radials (AKA summer tires). Winter tires are nice, but hardly essential. Especially in Manhattan.

    But that’s a minor quibble. Sounds like Turo sucks. I hadn’t heard of them before but I will definitely avoid.

  7. I can’t imagine why this would appeal to either party to the transaction — the renter or the car owner.

  8. The need to continuously refill the coolant is a big red flag. more often than not it means the gasket head of the engine need to be replaced.

  9. I dont understand how this would even work. Would you (or the owner) even be covered for insurance purposes for injuries, damages to property, liability etc? Cars are obviously not as well maintained by owners like car rental agencies. This overall looks like a big liability issue on both renters and drivers and a hassle.

  10. @Anthony- there are plenty of Manhattanites that own cars, and I’m sure some of them might see this as a way to not just monetize them, but avoid paying to park or juggling alternate side parking.

    @Jim “the anvil”- Summer tires are different than all-season.

  11. They’ve been around for quite a while. They used to be called Relay Rides. One of their biggest innovations in the carsharing front was getting a major insurer to cover the driver while they were driving the owner’s car – meaning that a driver getting in an accident wouldn’t affect the owner’s own insurance rates. Here in Manhattan, Zipcar is quite expensive and you have to book weekends literally months in advance because they’re so popular. I’ve rented from Hertz in Manhattan before and it’s ghastly expensive and it’s nothing like your sanitized airport counter rental experience.

  12. Terrible owner, terrible customer service and definitely worth a chargeback (and bad review)

    But i just have to ask: Why didn’t you simply put in water as a quick fix and told the owner to get his heap of junk fixed?

  13. “Last week, I decided to give Turo another shot, as I’ve never been too fond of traditional car rental companies”. You look for trouble, you get trouble!!! What is wring with traditional car rental companies? Why would I want to drive a personal car? Or better, why would someone rent their own car to a stranger?

  14. If you’re disputing it with a visa, please let us know how that goes as the onus is on you; if American Express, then we know everything will be just fine.

  15. @Louis He will be completely fine, simply posting the evidence that he posted here should be way more than enough to support his case. I’ve won legitimate charge-backs from Visa with much less evidence than this, in fact I’ve never been denied a charge-back from Visa. Besides, even if Visa somehow denies it, which they won’t, they will instantly reverse their decision once they realize who he is, they won’t want the bad press. Turo will regret their decision once they see how much traction this article is already getting… They’re certainly on my blacklist now after reading this article. Good luck, Ford.

  16. I can’t even begin to understand why you thought this would be a good idea in the first place.

  17. Ford, my 2 cents advise regarding the dispute, instead of filing a dispute under for service not rendered, notify the CC issuer that there has been of an Error in Electronic Funds Transfer.

    In particular, that there is an omission of an electronic fund transfer from your periodic statement. (Turo promised a refund and it is not on your periodic statement).

    This will make your dispute a 12 CFR Part 1005 (Regulation E) inquiry rather than just a merchant dispute. The financial institution is by law required to either resolve the error in 10 business days or provisionally credit you if they need extra time.

  18. I’ve actually think I booked the very same car with Tony and had no problems with it, despite the engine and coolant lights being on.

    PLEASE do not write a negative review. Turo car owners rely on their reviews and I know Tony is struggling financially and a bad review could mean less demand for his car. A bit appalled actually that other posters are egging you on to write a bad review.

  19. A reason why I stay away from renting private cars. There’s so much that could be wrong with them: Mechanically or legally.

    Funny enough the only time I got to see the “check engine” light was in a rental. Alamo had handed me the keys to a Chevy Traverese and probably 90 minutes into the rental, the check engine light lid up. Hmmh? I was in a hurry and going back would’ve meant a delay of at least 180 minutes in driving. I decided to continue.

    The light stayed on for a couple of days. At that point I was already in the middle of nowhere with no Alamo representative in reach. The stop showing a couple a days later, only to reappear hours later. The light went on and off again whenever it was in the mood. At the end of the rental, it made massive warning noises and switched off the ABS and stability program (They were working after shutting the engine off and restarting it). All in all, not a very pleasant experience. I figured that the car manifested itself to get it into a shop to have the service down (it was 6,000 mi overdue when I got it and 9,000 mi overdue when I dropped it off) as the check engine light kept randomly going on and off. The car drove exactly the same and no bizarre noises.

  20. The problem will all of these “sharing” companies is that you never really know what you’re going to get. Reviews help to some extent, but people are waaaayyy too generous with their reviews (or don’t write them at all when they have bad experiences). I assume this is because they figure future hosts will refuse to do business with them if they wrote (even completely justified) negative reviews.

    Steer clear of all these companies.

  21. From personal experience: Turo is deceptive and provides the most horrific service I ever experienced. They give the sharing economy a bad name. I lived through a nightmare with them from the other end of the transaction as someone who offered his car for rent. My renter crashed the car, abandoned it in the street and never returned it to me. Turo could t care less and despite my numerous attempts to make them take responsibility they left me hanging on my own trying to find my crashed car again, trying to get it repaired, etc. Their insurance covered the repair in the end but not the other associated cost (lack of a car, transport and running around to find my car). Turo could not care less. They deserve to go out of business – or be shut down by a regulator.

  22. @Max: “PLEASE do not write a negative review. Turo car owners rely on their reviews and I know Tony is struggling financially and a bad review could mean less demand for his car. A bit appalled actually that other posters are egging you on to write a bad review.”

    You’re kidding right?

  23. Any of the major rental car companies, upon notification of this will drive to you and swap out the car for you. No charge. There is waaaaaay too much liability for them to not do this (imagine if you reported a problem, they didn’t fix it and you had an accident …).

    @Max …. are you crazy!!! Or, are you actually Tony?

    Turo? Keep posting negative reviews and that will drive them out of business …. that’s the way that capitalism works!!!

    Ford: Thanks for your review … I’ll never do business with these guys. Ever.

  24. You were too nice to take it to Meinke. I would have just parked it and told the owner where they could find it.

  25. Curious to hear of your negative customer service experiences at car rental companies. I don’t rent cars that often, maybe 3 or 4 times a year, but have never had any issues with Enterprise or National. I rented from Dollar once in LA because it was cheaper and had to wait 1.5 hours in line just to fill out the paperwork to rent the car! I chalk that up to Dollar being the Spirit Airlines of car rental. Never had any problems with Enterprise or National.

  26. Cars rented in unsafe conditions happen at rental companies as well. I once rented from Hertz, the tire was deflating quickly, I had to pull off the freeway and then limp along to a gas station. Hertz wouldn’t take responsibility so I just dealt with it filling up the tire 3 times a day and returned the car in the same state to become the next renters problems.

  27. I am loyal to National and Enterprise (rental days and credits from enterprise count towards your emerald club status). I like being able to choose a car off the aisle and go, and in some locations you can do most of the check out on the phone app and the exit booth just scans a barcode off your phone. As your bio states only you’re in your twenties I’m not sure of their below 25 policy.

  28. Amazed at how many people haven’t heard of Turo. Tahsir (BengaliMilesGuru) at TravelCodex has done quite well listing his cars on Turo.

  29. I think you need more mechanical savvy. A low coolant warning, engine temp warning and then the heating and cooling system malfunctioning are signs of a car you should stop driving immediately.

  30. Tony = Guerrilla marketing for Hertz, Avis, National???

    I’ve been meaning to try out Turo in LA this summer. Will stick with National now, good selection just never quite know what you’ll find though.

  31. Ford, I am glad you are safe. I hope you have learned to give more weight to bad reviews. I can’t believe you rented after seeing that bad review. You are too trusting.

  32. Sad you’re getting the run around from Turo about this. Chances are the dispute will go through quickly and easily. I guess lesson learned, but I always take extensive video and photos of any car I rent before driving it anywhere just so there’s never a question of the condition. Exchanging the car on a manhattan street was just bad news from the start.

  33. Ok this guy wanted you to go get up to $100 in car service performed for him and you agreed to do it for him?? Why would you agree to spending any of your own time getting his vehicle maintained? I mean this with all due respect but stop being so nice.

    I would instantly assume there really is more wrong with the car and he’s just looking for a sucker to pay for his repairs. He gave you that car knowing you would have it for ten days and a high likelihood that it would break down during that time. It’s also not a stretch for him to have a “friendly” mechanic who would agree to write a report for him. He knew what he was doing and it’s quite obvious now in retrospect. He wanted you to help out with $100 in repairs that magically inflate to higher amounts after you take it in.

    People seem to be aware of the scam artists when traveling abroad but sometimes let their guard down when it happens here in the US.

    Best of luck to you on at least getting a partial refund…

  34. DO NOT USE TURO. *********I REPEAT******Do NOT use TURO. I got screwed using it in denver 1 year ago. Some asshole had his car keyed before i rented it and he didnt show or tell me about it

  35. National is hands-down the best in my opinion and worth paying extra for. I have been Executive Elite with them for a decade! I wish they had a lifetime elite feature and a co-branded credit card that earned free rental days.

  36. “There are lots of things to love about the “sharing” economy, including the overall better value that can be had, and that the typically horrific service from car rental companies can be avoided… or so I thought.”

    I appreciate the article, but this highlights the general populace’s perception problems with using “sharing economy” services – in exchange for a price drop, you have taken on additional risk. What if the car veered off-course and god forbid, struck a pedestrian? What if you yourself got injured directly/indirectly – what would Turo do given their position as “an aggregator and not a service provider?” In their position, it’s all about C.Y.A.

    Imagine the most incompetent friend or family member you know being responsible for this kind of service to someone, and then imagine that someone is you. I’ll take crappy rental car service who I can pin responsibility to over this nebulous system any day.

  37. As I stated above, PLEASE do not leave a negative review for Tony or any other car owner on Turo. These reviews make or break car owners, and right now this is Tony’s only source of income. Since you do not know Tony’s situation, this is the only ethical thing to do. I always recommend leaving a review, but only if you include the POSITIVE aspects of the experience. If there were no positive aspects, then DO NOT leave a review at all. Remember that some people’s livelihoods depend on these reviews.

  38. @Max Bilen, really have to disagree w/ you on this. One important aspect of the sharing economy is the mutual review process. If the experience was positive, definitely leave a positive review to reward the host and help him/her attract more business. If the experience was negative, then one would be damaging their own credibility on the platform leaving a false review. In this case, not leaving a negative review for a car unfit for road use would be a disservice to the platform and the trust of users of the platform.

    If Tony’s income was dependent on this, then hopefully he would have learned from this experience and to better maintain his vehicle going forward. Through discounts and other means to attract additional customers.

  39. @max what planet do you live on? More than likely your friend is in a state of financial trouble if he runs any of whatever businesses he has like he operates his turo car.

    @ford I tried turo and was left st the airport with no car the first time. Turo informed me that I couldn’t write a negative review of the operator because I never took possession of car.

  40. @Max … I’ll just assume you are a shill for Turo.

    Reviews, good and bad, are what make our economy work. Just about every product or service I buy, I try to check the reviews … good or bad.

    If you provide a bad product or service, you deserve to be penalized … and if you do it too many times, you deserve to go out of business. Would you leave “no review” or a “positive review” of the Samsung Note 7 (knowing you could endanger someones life)?

  41. I would strongly recommend against Turo. I live in Los Angeles near LAX. We have local streets where people are parking their cars for Turo rental (in private neighborhoods). We have looked up the cars online and have confirmed they are available on Turo. Turo must be promoting this practice as it is too coincidental the area they are parking in. We are trying to get the city to enforce existing laws and get these removed but are being told we need a new law so are pushing for that (who knows how long it will take given our incompetent local government).
    Some of these cars also appear to be from local wholesale auctions (i.e. auctions from dealers for trade-ins where they will not or cannot sell a car on their lot, basically the bottom of the barrel cars that they do not sell due to age or cannot sell to consumers due to mechanical issues). We are able to tell this due to the wholesale and/or auction tags on the cars.

    I’m not sure if this company is a scam or really trying to be part of the sharing economy but they have so many bad practices I would avoid them.

  42. I’m seriously laughing out loud at @Max’s comments – like for real? Or are you being comedically ironic?

    You value some dishonest scoundrel’s financial security above the possibility of a dead family? That’s funny as a comment but bizarre as a belief.

    I’ve been duped into things like this before and lost out (buying things on eBay that have that disappointing ‘iffy’ sinking feeling of something being off almost immediately, and yet never wanting to put someone else out financially), whereas now, if I was renting that car and it had those problems I’d notify the app/company/owner and terminate the agreement immediately, their problem ain’t going to become my problem. By all means if they were to pick up and return the car within a convenient period of time, that’d be fine, but not this.

    On a side note, you can get a train out to Yonkers or White Plains or anywhere like that and hire a car for peanuts! That’s what we did last time in NY. There’s no law about where you can and can’t drive it, and it’s a far less stressful place to make arrangements than a downtown rental office.

  43. Hi Ford,
    My favorite part of this story is how stupid that guy and the Turo company will feel when they realize what a huge, enormous presence you have on the internet — you put the word out to thousands of people and we all take our cues from you! HaHaHa!!!!

  44. I rent my cars out on Turo. I have good reviews and excellent cars in excellent condition.

    I would NEVER rent a car with a bad review that highlighted something mechanical! Why on earth would you take that risk??

    Pay a little extra to rent a GOOD newer car from someone like me. Some of us really truly care about our cars and our customers.

  45. “PLEASE do not leave a negative review for Tony […] Since you do not know Tony’s situation, this is the only ethical thing to do.”

    @Max: please give us your thoughts on what would be the ethical thing for Tony to do when he is considering renting out an unsafe car

  46. Used Turo multiple times and have been quite happy.
    It is the customer’s responsibility for due diligence, as sams with a rental from Avis/Hertz/Enterprise/etc. Signing for a faulty car with them puts you in a similar state as well.

    The nature of the sharing industry means slightly more awareness is required. In the same way that Turo/Airbnb/Uber/Lyft hosts and drivers vary, these folks also understand that you, the customer, can also be a varying experience for them.

  47. Why are you driving a car in manhattan in the first place? Ride a bike, take a cab, or take the subway. Just plain stupid.

  48. Turo has a significant number of what appear to be very legitimate complaints against them posted on the web. Frankly, I think that this is a crazy business because so much can go wrong and it’s clear that Turo has almost no process for avoiding them. Then when they occur they seem at a loss to figure out what to do so the outcome is a happy or at least an acceptable one.

    Very few people have posted stories of a bad rental where Turo took care of it. While I realize people tend to post when thing don’t work out that almost nobody has had this experience tells me that management thinks they are in the business of just matching people and that’s the limit of what they need to do. Airbnb quickly realized that isn’t enough.

    Until there is a meeting of the minds as to what Turn needs to do for each of the large number of problems that program like this is going to encounter and has a way of dealing with them in a way that is good enough that people don’t wonder why they every rented like this they are unlikely to succeed.

    Lucky, you think you had a bad experience? Check out the people who rented their cars and the renter totaled it. It’s a wonder anyone, except somebody with a wreck of a car, would allow someone they know nothing about to go off with their vehicle. Would you had a stranger something worth $15,000-50,000, particularly something that could be driven fast, recklessly, or while drunk? I wouldn’t.

  49. Ford I’ve been on Turo’s email distribution lists for months and the emails make me wonder how many adults are actually working there. The latest email from them was:

    “Truck Yeah!”

    That got deleted without looking at it.

    That said, you thought picking up a car from a Turo user in Manhattan would somehow be a hassle-free experience? Having owned a car and parked it on side streets for years — and also having rented occasionally in Manhattan — anything that involves a passenger vehicle in Manhattan has the word HASSLE written all over it. So in that sense you’ve clearly had the ultimate HASSLE.

  50. i’ve had many positive turo experiences, and only recently I had a mishap where the car’s license had expired and the owner ‘had no idea’ .. luckily I was not stopped, but it was a bit of a warning.

    go by the reviews – the one you posted above highlighting all the faults should be a warning sign to cancel the rental and just go to a regular company or zipcar (if nothing else on turo is available at short notice). hope it all gets fixed financially.

  51. If youre paying for something, youre not sharing. Youre charging. Thats the biggest con the tech bros have played

    Eg, we all have shared food and toys with friends. We never charged them (or at least I didnt)

  52. What bad service with rental agencies are you talking about? I live in central London, so don’t own a car. I end up renting about 12-15 times a year, mostly for long weekends abroad, or even locally. I’ve very rarely had to complain about anything in the service, or the quality of the cars — maybe to do with the fact that I reached President’s Club at Avis now, but the service was good before that. And now I get nice upgrades all the time.

    If think if there’s one thing where I will not move to “sharing”, it’s car rental. Especially in the US where it’s much cheaper than in Europe…

  53. Very timely that you have written this article.

    I had booked two cars over one month in advance and then BOTH owners cancelled reservations – One sent me a sorty and the secound just disappeared without response the day before my rental. I contacted Turo and advised. The Turo representative Hannah tried to contact the owner and didn’t receive any response.

    I advised that being end of June that it would now be difficult and expensive for me to find a replacement rental. She advised that they would provide suggestions but not be liable for any more than a $50 credit against a new rental. There were no suitable cars in the similar class when I searched and prices were also double what I had confirmed.

    I would say Turo has a lot of work to do in order to be serious. They cannot drop people the day before a rental and then have no solution only see what we have and just accept it.

    There is no way anyone should rely on TURO at this point and that is sad. I understand the model is a tough one but they started it and need to find customer solutions or they will be left by the roadside as well.

  54. WHY?!? What are you thinking? Use public transit or cab back to the airport (or in some instances train station) and rent a car there. What, maybe $5 a day more but also reliable, safe and convenient (usually 24/7 operations). It just doesn’t add up that you would justify paying 4-5 times the dollars for J class over Y but then cheap out on the most dangerous part of your journey…the private automobile.
    As for Max Belen, are you for real. Son, you need to learn that “short term goals have long term effects.” You are endangering people’s lives with your irresponsible attitude and then some moron comes to your aid and says “don’t tell anyone that Max is unsafe.” WOW!!! I just hope Max and his friends never get involved in airline management.

  55. I had never heard of Turo. I am not as fond of the “sharing community” as you all seem to be. My experiences with other sharing sites has been mixed at best, with similar results as Ford. Call me old and fashionable, but I’ll just stay with the giant, cold corporations.

  56. @MAX Please keep going to restaurants and bars you hate, peoples livelihoods are depending on it. Also, if anyone overcharges you for anything and provides super bad service, please tip him generously because his livelihood depends on it.
    Reviews are there to get the rotten apples out of the system so people trust it. If they don’t trust the system (Turo in this case) nobody will use it and nobody will make any money.


    “You look for trouble, you get trouble!!!”
    “I can’t even begin to understand why you thought this would be a good idea in the first place.”

    “PLEASE do not write a negative review.”

    “I think you need more mechanical savvy.”

    “As I stated above, PLEASE do not leave a negative review for Tony or any other car owner on Turo.”

    “Grow up and rent from established companies.”

    Why are you driving a car in manhattan in the first place? Ride a bike, take a cab, or take the subway. Just plain stupid.

  58. @Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart

    All-season tires and summer tires aren’t the same thing. Maybe in Canada no one runs real summer tires and you so conversationally call all-seasons ‘summer tires’ but they’re a different class a tire entirely. All-seasons are fine in cold or snowy conditions, worse than winter tires no doubt but still viable. Summer tires on snow won’t even get you out of your driveway.

  59. I’m a car owner with Turo. I rent out three different cars. Like anything, there are things and bad things that happen. Good owners like me keep their carts well maintained. Bad owners not care. Read reviews on the site. Don’t be eager to rent for the low eat price as that is major tip off that the owner is desperate for money. Read their profile. You n find out what kind of person they are before you rent. If they don’t have a 5 star rating… Avoid them!##

  60. Ok. It seems commenters are blaming pretty much everyone involved, Tony, Ford, Turo, and even just the concept of the sharing economy, but I’d humbly suggest one other place to also lay blame: Land Rover Evoque’s are horrible crap and this kind of thing is way more likely to happen when dealing with almost any Land Rover vs say a relatively new Honda or Toyota.

  61. All I can say is, wow. In addition to a chargeback from you cc company, I’d honestly lodge complaints with the BBB and the FTC. This isn’t just an issue of you receiving subpar service at a hotel or breakfast not being included in your room rate; this is an issue of *safety*. You were knowingly rented out an unsafe car, you have proof of this fact, and Turo refuses to acknowledge this or do anything about this fact – it’s a bad business practice that should make them liable, and if you wanted to, I bet you could raise some kind of hell.

  62. Reading this, I have learned my lesson.

    Turo renters (1st time with no reviews) clearly donot know how to use the app. I have 2 recent renters (1 abandoned the vehicle in Newark, NJ after hitting something) and another previously hit something and cannot remember.

    Turo insurance is totally garbage, its is like asking Jesus to come fix the vehicle. I have purchased there premium insurance and says covers everything. In nut shell covers nothing, when you file a claim the disclaimers come up then which is contradictory to the coverage published….so if you donot know you will only know when it happens.

    In anycase both cases took forever to resolve with thousands of damages, its great for renter who can normally cannot rent cars at car rental companies are coming to turo….so if you value your car stay off turo if you donot car and its extra….enjoy the turo ride!!

  63. I actually rent my car out through Turo in NC. In every scenario there is going to be that one person who doesn’t have the respect for others- Airbnb, Uber, etc. My car goes out to renters straight out of Auto Bell, all maintenance up to date, I would be appalled if a renter had a problem with my car.
    Please don’t give all of us a bad rep because of the one bad apple.

  64. I had also terrible experience with Turo. I rented two times and both times they overcharged me. Even if I had all communication documented with the owner proving that I’m right, they only had a bot-like customer service, and approved the overcharge.

  65. Water alone is NOT a substitute for coolant. Without coolant you can destroy an engine. There are many different kinds of coolant and you must use the specific coolant for any given vehicle.

    I would never use Turo or any similar service. You have no idea what the mechanical condition the car is in. It could have worn brakes, a worn head gasket, worn tires or a worn timing belt which could break at any time, and in many cars, that would destroy the engine. Any of these scenarios could leave you stranded, and not necessarily in the safest neighborhood.

    Finally, the way they handled your very valid concern should be reason enough to never rent from these people. That, and the fact that they have apparently have no way of insuring that the cars that are rented are mechanically sound and safe to drive.

  66. I had a similar situation in San Diego. Rented a vehicle that seemed to have acceleration issues. We were on our way to Vegas when the car lost power on the highway and we had to pull to the side and exit. Called Turo and were told to have it towed and leave it with the towing company so that we could resume our trip. Paid an Uber and rented a vehicle from enterprise. Lo and behold, owner also provided documentation that nothing was wrong with the vehicle and Turo wanted us to pay for the tow back to San Diego and refused to refund our money. They also removed my negative review of the vehicle but allowed the negative review left by the owner of me. Never again will I trust Turo.

  67. They are the worst company. They would not let me rent due to a “temporary” id, mine had expired and I renewed and it hadn’t come in the mail yet. Fine, no big deal, but they would not let me change the name on the reservation or give me a refund. Total scam, they need a huge class action suit against them. A name should be able to be changed, and a “temporary” license issued by the DMV is a legitimate id, it is ridiculous.

  68. I had a similar dangerous experience where I felt the host was baiting me into a bad situation and they started screaming at me when I asked a few questions. I walked away because I didn’t feel safe and when I tried to explain to Turo I obviously need a refund, they refused. After at least 35 phone calls with Turo support I called Amex. Amex refunded me immediately and told me to never use Turo again as many others had experienced the same predatory issue.

    Cars are expensive and renting with Turo is a huge liability.

  69. can’t conceive of renting a car from some random person – the author says he doesn’t like renting from a “faceless corporation,” but this seems infinitely worse. have rented cars from “faceless” companies for 40+ years and never had a car with the kind of problems described here. can this guy say the same thing? 50% of his reported rentals have ended in disaster – had a flat tire a couple times in a rental car, called the company, and they sent someone to my location to fix it both times – never was told to go search for a mechanic and get it fixed in some strange city, like this guy was told to do. being charged anything for this disaster seems like a ripoff in the extreme – indeed, renter should have been reimbursed for wasting his time taking the pos to a mechanic to solve the owner’s problem.

  70. Turo seems to become more and more questionable. I was a fan until I had to deal with their insurance.

    Apparently, they can change the status of an additional driver from “approved to drive” to “not approved” as they choose.

    This is problematic for renters because Turo can say that you violated the rental terms and deny your Turo protection plan so that you paid for.

    I’m not sure how to deal with this. Do you have any advice. Thanks in advance.

  71. Exactly the reason Turo just sounds like a horrible idea, the other side of the spectrum is renting your car out to someone who trashes it, drives it like they stole it, treats the interior like crap, soda spills etc… what a nightmare of an idea

  72. sounds like the dumbest idea ever – the renter has no idea if the owner is responsible, has properly maintained and cleaned the vehicle, won’t overcharge you or claim damage that you didn’t cause, etc., etc.

  73. If you do not need to use Customer Support for Turo, you might be fine…but if you do, it is awful. First, we had a terrible time getting my husband as an approved driver. I did fill out the form wrong, but after 2 weeks of talking to Customer Support and sending photos, we were still no closer to getting him approved. The car owner finally intervened on our behalf and he was approved only a few hours before our rental began.
    The owner of the car mentioned a rattling sound with the A/C, but she had it checked out and it was “nothing to worry about”. Five days into a 10 day rental, the noise became louder. We contacted her and told her. My husband has a degree in auto mechanics and has worked as one. He was worried about the serpentine belt breaking and we mentioned that possibility to the owner. She told us not to worry and to keep driving it unless “the light comes on”. Three days later, the A/C stopped working and soon after that, the car started to smoke under the hood. We called Turo and they asked if the car was still “drivable”? Well, yes it was and no light was on, so rather than stopping on the side of the road, we continued on to our destination at a hotel. Once we stopped there, the serpentine belt did break. We also contacted the owner and she agreed to have the car towed back to where she lived. She also told us that the Turo representative promised that they would deliver a car to us for the remaining three days….never happened. In fact, when I called Customer Service, they told me that they couldn’t do that but they could give me a 50 credit toward the rental of another Turo car….but who would want to rent us their car just to have it dropped off at a far off location? We ended up wasting 4 hours of our vacation time getting another car from an established rental firm.
    Also, the Customer Care representatives are VERY difficult to understand and lack common sense. One told me “No worries” but it would take 3 hours to 3 days to approve my husband for rental when we were 4 hours from picking up the car. Another one told me to “document” that the A/C was not working by taking a picture of it.????
    Additionally the owner was a “All-Star Host”

  74. I had a terrible experience using Turo first (and last) time. The person I rented the car from tried to scam me. When I dropped the car off, the car had a small amount of food crumbs in the car. The person I was talking to looked inside the car and told me that he was going to charge me $100 because the car was not vacuumed. Even though Turo’s policy says that a small amount of dirt or crumbs is ineligible for reimbursement, I volunteered to take the car across the street and vacuum the small amount of crumbs out myself but he refused to let me do that claiming it was too late and I would be charged $100. After we left, I received the email saying he was requesting I pay him $50 instead of $100 for not vacuuming the car.
    After double checking Turo’s policy and seeing that a small amount of crumbs on the carpet that can be easily be vacuumed up are ineligible for reimbursement, I disputed his charge.
    In addition, this car had a lot of scratches, scuffs and paint damage on both bumpers and most of the car panels that was not disclosed when I rented the car as evidenced in all of the photos that I uploaded when I picked up the car. Had I not been with my family and in a hurry, I would have refused this car.
    This guy is a scammer in my opinion and I don’t think you should let him rent cars on your platform any more. He was rude and unhelpful and a very poor host and I suspect that he will do this to other people.
    This was my first time using Turo and I have to say that my experience was very negative due to this guy and his vehicle and I will never use Turo again.

  75. I get that it’s frustrating. And I hate to victim blame. But seriously, someone said it had the very problems you experienced and you didn’t think to even ask the owner before you picked it up whether those problems were fixed? I didn’t know the Turo app had an option to only search for cheap jalopies.

  76. Turo is misleading and uses false advertising. I went to rent a car on Turo and found one for $27. I went to book for 3 months and saw there was a 30% long trip discount, great!!. I went to book and saw that the trip ended up being $27 per day plus their trip fee. I went on live chat and the agent told me that $27 was the discounted long trip fee which simply is a lie. The listing on the main listings page says $27 per day. It doesnt say starting at $27 nor does it say restrictions apply. I asked the chat agent to find me one single day in next 12 months where car was available for $27 as advertised and guess what, he couldnt. I went to 15 other listings and found same thing. The advertised price per day is not available. Its only available after a 30% discount for a 3 month trip which most people wont do, so wheres the $27 being advertised.
    Very disappointing as the idea behind Turo is great.
    I also see the trip fee (Turos fee) is completely random. On a $31 car it wanted to charge me $8 and on a $40 car it wanted $5 only. Makes no sense.

  77. I had very similar experience – only with vents and defogger in winter. Turo and many of the owners renting their cars seem like con artists to me. Never again.

  78. It’s now been 3 months and countless frustrating emails and I am still not compensated for having rented a Turo car that broke down 3 days into a 4 day rental.

    After an hour on the phone with Turo, roadside, I was instructed to call an Uber, get myself a car rental and submit the receipts.

    I communicated with the car owner through the whole thing. And took lots of pictures of where the vehicle was.

    The damage was not visible but rendered the vehicle not drive-able. A worn tie rod iron had given way. I was driving on a paved road (obviously as this was a Camaro!) when it happened. Just around a bend in the road. Thank goodness I wasn’t on a freeway.

    The owner, subsequently, tried to blame me for her car
    breaking down. And made a claim against me. She accused me of driving it on a rough road. Which I had not. Maybe the renter before me did. Or maybe she did. I took good care of the car.

    After much back and forth it was determined that I was not at fault. Thank you very much.

    I would indeed be reimbursed the uber and car rental. Nothing for the inconvenience.

    This wasn’t, however, settled by the time I had to review the car owner and I did as expected, warned others.

    She replied to my comment making me sound like the irresponsible one and, by the time the decision had come down in my favour, I was unable to comment further under her profile.

    I could care less if my reputation would be affected. I’ll never use Turo again anyway. It’s just frustrating that the timing did not allow for a more accurate picture of what went down to be publicized on the owner’s profile.

    The car broke down on November 2, 2019.

    Last email from my Turo ‘advisor’ was Jan 30, 2020.

    ‘I have reached out to the department that issued out the payment. I apologize for the delay, but it should be transferred to you soon. Thank you for your patience.’

    I ran out of patience a couple months back. I’ve invested so much time now, I won’t let this go.

    Be WARNED!!! If the Turo car fails to operate on your watch (wear and tear… it happens!) you can very well end up in a mess!

    Accused of causing the breakdown.

    They asked for my personal car insurance from Nova Scotia (I rented in California and bought the Turo insurance, of course. Fine print says they go through yours first. Theirs is simply back up!

    In my case it was a tie-rod iron that cost the owner $340 to repair.

    Without a hard fight, I would have been making an insurance claim (and we all know what that does to your rates!) and be out of pocket for the deductible $500, the Uber, the car rental (Thank you Enterprise!!) the tow, the funds already paid for the 4th day of rental and my insurance rates would have been jacked up for years!!

    I was never so happy to jump into that rental car that day, knowing the amazing service I would get if anything went wrong.

    Forget Turo people. It’s not worth the risk.

  79. These so called sharing companies are a hotbed for scammers. Big rental companies can a pain but these hosts never bother to maintain anything related to their vehicles and you might die form lack of maintenance!

  80. These guys hired the debt collection agency against me for the damage I didn’t make! SCAMMERS! This is what happened. I rented a Chevrolet Spark from Patrick Shahbandari. Everything was fine until I returned it. Patrick the host checked the car and left a great review. Only after that he contacted me saying that his roof has bumps and accused me of doing that?! He added that he already alerted Turo and then stopped replying to me. When Turo contacted me, I replied immediately, explaining the whole situation and attempting to dispute that claim. Turo Claims Associate under name Evan Kramme didn’t care about anything I wrote. In the next email, I received a $1,466.35 bill. I didn’t get a chance to do anything! TURO DOESN’T LISTEN TO THEIR CUSTOMERS!! Their evidence is based on photos only!After a month they even increased that bill to $2,493.36!! “There has been additional damages found or additional repairs are needed outside of the estimate that was originally written for the vehicle.” SCAMMERS! It went that far that yesterday the debt collectors reached out to me! This is an extremely frustrating and stressful process and I’m worried about my health as this triggers my anxiety! I am filling lawsuit with all the medical proofs and I am about to sue Turo.

  81. I would like to expose the fraudulent treatment I received by TURO the car sharing company.
    They have defrauded me out of nearly $600 after the vehicle I rented became disabled through no fault of my own on the 3rd day of my 9 day rental which is aproximately $400. I incurred an additional $180 in emergency transportation costs. I lost an entire day of my vacation to get replacement vehicle from a different company which cost about $100 more that my original booking with TURO for a much lesser vehicle. I rented a cool convertible to have my Florida vacation in with my children. Instead we spent a day walking and catching ubers to find ANY available vehicle in the small town we were in.
    I have not been refunded the remainder of my trip or reimbursed for any of my additional costs. There is no price they can pay for the lost day or degraded experience of our trip that I as a single mom saved for an entire year to take.
    The company claims they are entitled to keep the money as I failed to return the vehicle at my expense to the designated drop off location and that I abandoned the vehicle. The vehicle was disabled in a legal parking spot at my vacation rental and I was physically present when the tow truck that TURO called picked the vehicle up. The vehicle was disabled because the key fob had corroded and burnt out internally and there was no other way to gain entry or start the car. Turo claims that because I turned down the offer of a replacement key I am at fault. They offered me a key the morning this happened but were unable to get it to me in time to attend the VERY expensive, non-refundable, scheduled event that we were on our way to. I told them we were going to Uber to our event and that I expected reimbursement and that I would deal with the car when we returned that evening. That evening I was never offered a replacement key I was just told by the TURO representative that they were sending a tow truck.
    The next day I was accused of being at fault for the damaged key, I was charged a cleaning fee for a car I couldn’t even unlock, I was accused of bending a seat by putting my suitcase in the back seat, AND I was accused of smoking in the car. I don’t smoke.
    TURO voided the insurance I paid extra for because they say I violated the terms by abandoning the vehicle. They seem to have decided in my favor about the key and the seat but they charged my credit card $50 for a cleaning fee that was unfair. We did not even drive the vehicle 150 miles total. They gave me the car with 1/8 of a tank of gas and got it back with 3/4 tank.
    I have requested copies of all photos and transcripts of calls and have been completely ignored.
    TURO’s final answer is that I have to pay $200 to go to arbitration!!!
    I have disputed the charges with my credit card company but that will take some time to resolve and does nothing to reimburse my uber costs.
    TURO and this particular host are very dishonest, disorganized and painful to work with. My vacation was basically ruined and $600 is a BIG DEAL to me. My poor kids got drug all around Brevard County FL with their mom in tears trying to get us a car. I will speak out about TURO at every opportunity. Please help me!!



  82. Don’t forget to write the BBB and file a class action suit!! They are operating illegally in airports, for instance. A reckless, greedy company that deserves lawsuits.

  83. If anyone has had any luck with Turo claims, please let me know. I’m a 5 star host and a driver damaged my vehicle. I can’t even get a return phone call from them. I’m weighing my options right now (including litigation).

  84. I had a terrible experience with Turo too: a driver damaged slightly the passenger rear side and got a big crack in the windshield.
    Here’s how it went:
    * initial claim was slow but I was on vacation for a week
    * after another 2+ weeks and a flurry of emails I got the claim “resolved”. They paid ~71% of what the local shop estimated.
    * from here it was a nightmare to get the “adjustment”
    * 5+ chats where the claim was excalated
    * countless email with Turo
    * > 40 calls where I left messages with the company doing the claims for them
    * NO RESULT. Not even an update.
    * In the end I found the email of the CEO and wrote to him, CCed claims.
    * the next day I got two people from the 3rd party claims company calling me and a call from the Head of Claims to apologize
    * in about a week I got the missing money
    * I had asked for the promised rental car during the 3 days my car was in shop but they didn’t do anything about this part and I just gave up on that part

    So there you are. Let me know by email if you want more details.

  85. Whatever Turo or any other car-sharing company. You should be checked properly car before go for the tour.

  86. TURO did the SAME exact thing to me but worse. As soon as I started the ignition on a luxury Mercedes the message showed saying it was 1900 miles overdue for service. I immediately left the vehicle, shoved the keys back in the owners hand saying he was nuts of he thought I was going to drive a vehicle he doesn’t bother maintaining as Turo requires him to. I told him he also better not block my refund or I would ruin his rep online.

    Sure enough he lied and said I drove it. He probably drove it himself to put a few more miles on it to support his lie / fraud.

    Turo refused over the period of about 7 conversations in chat and on the phone to help me or refund my money. So thats right I paid for an unsafe car I didn’t drive. I have filed a fraud complaint with California Atty General on Turo and the owner.

    I have to say I had great experiences with Turo in other cities before this. So once loyal customers fall prey to sketch con artist owners using their service Turo WILL NOT back you or believe you even if you have timestamped photos. They ignore proof on their own web page and will OBEY the owner no matter what.

    This is like a system where a criminal who attacks you would have to approve the police answering your 911 call or dispatching to your location.

    Unreal, unbelievable and unacceptable.

  87. So Ford

    What ever happened as a result of your claim against the owner (Tony?) and Turo

    Did the CC refund? Or did you just lose?

    Thanks for the Turo update. FWIW I have had limited experience with AirBnb and have a 50% success rate. A great 30 day stay in Nelson NZ but awful overnights in other locations. Perhaps a 30 day stay is important and gives the owners the incentive to make it right.

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Reminder: OMAAT comments are changing soon. Register here to save your space.